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Full text of "Verdict On India"

218                                    TERDICT  ON  INDIA
handful of pampered nonentities whom we encountered on the
race-course, there are thousands of others, nurses, missionaries,
wives of country officials, who deserve the very highest respect.
Theirs may not always be a very sensational variety of courage;
it may be only the sort which enables them to scan the aforesaid
pages of Life without bursting into tears. For out of those pages
comes the sound of music and laughter and the swish of crepe-de-
chine, and these things have been long denied them. That sort
of courage is really more remarkable in the long run than the
"British phlegm' which these women invariably display in a crisis,
the almost unnatural calm which seems to cloak them, like an
armour, when a train is held up or a mob is storming the
gates. Whichever variety of courage you prefer, they have it in
abundance.
ii
There are three main criticisms to be made of the British in
India, if we consider them as individuals rather than as cogs in 1
the Imperial machine.
Krstly, they never say Hhank-you/
Riding in my first Indian tram, from Gwalior to Delhi, I asked
a very red-faced Colonel the Indian for 'thank-you/ The coolies
who had carried the luggage were waiting to be paid ; it was very
hot and they had worked quickly and well; it seemed ungracious
merely to tip them and send them off.
"Thank-you ?' ejaculated the Colon,el.    'Thank-you ?'
'Yes,' I repeated. 'Thank you." (If you say the word *thank-
you' often enough it sounds quite peculiar, like a sort of Chinese
fish.)
cBut my dear fellah,5' he spluttered, byou doĽ*f."
'Don't say thank-vou ?'
* Certainly not. Nevah. It isn,'t done.5 He shook his head
violently, and began to climb the steps into the carriage. Then
he turned his head: cS"matter of fact, doubt if there is such a
word. Been in India thirty years. Know Hindi. Know Urdu.
Never heard anybody say it. Thauk-you !' And he retired into
the railway carriage, making old-fashioned noises.